May your stomachs and hearts be full this Thursday

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The holidays have always been one of my favorite times of the year. Thanksgiving was always an extra special time for me as a child and looking back I think I may have enjoyed it even more than the Christmas holiday which followed a few weeks to a month later.

At a young age, my family moved my siblings and me to Northern California and far away from all family and friends we had in Orange County. Even though we would all take trips back and forth throughout the year, none of those trips compared to the one yearly tradition of our late November drive to share the holiday with those we loved and missed. Sure, the other trips were full of fun times where we got to visit with many of the close family members we left behind. Although for Thanksgiving, the entire extended family gathered and filled my grandmother’s house until it was practically bursting at the seams.

You know the type of gathering I am talking about. The one where you have hugged so many people hello and even more people goodbye at the end of the night. The ones where at least one person forgets a family member’s name and all the grandmothers and great-grandmothers in the room have to make the comment, “look how much you have grown since last year” at least one time.

Closing my eyes, I can still remember the smell walking into my grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving. The smell of turkey, ham, stuffing and biscuits mixed with pies and desserts spread out for everyone to enjoy – and sure enough, give all of us all a belly ache because we can’t help but overindulge.

The last Thanksgiving I spent in Southern California was probably the most special. I was fortunate enough to take the time and cook with my grandmother where she passed down a few of her secret recipes to me before she passed away from cancer a little over a year later. A tradition which should never be broken, I still make those recipes she shared with me on that warm Southern California night all these years later on Thanksgiving. I have even taught a few of her tricks to my daughters while every year I also grace them with a few stories of how great their great-grandmother truly was.

All too soon, those few days we would take to enjoy the holiday would come to an end, and we would kiss our family goodbye and take the seven-hour drive home and back north while always leaving a piece of our heart behind us as we readied ourselves for a new holiday to begin.

As a child, one of my favorite memories was the drive home from Los Angeles to Northern California after visiting family for Thanksgiving. Like magic, the town and cities we drove through had changed since we left only a few short days earlier. Christmas lights were now hung on houses, the weather was somehow cooler than the previous week and the town had quickly put out all its decorations in anticipation of the new approaching holiday.

Even though we missed family and even though a new holiday had begun, the time we were fortunate to spend with our family those few short days during the Thanksgiving holiday blessed us and gave us a heart filled with joy as we waited for Christmas to arrive.

So, as we all hurry around in our day to day to life I hope you all have time to stop and enjoy and share in memories with the ones you love – much like I stopped and shared in that time with my grandmother before her passing. Thanksgiving has always been a time for remembrance and giving thanks, not only for the blessings we have but those we hold dear and close to our hearts. My wish for Jessamine County this Thursday is your stomachs are full and your hearts are all a little bigger from spending time with the ones you call family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.